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November 16, 2015 3

Dining with The Blind Cafe

By in Food Event

Dining with The Blind Cafe

Two years ago I challenged myself to do something that scared me every day for the month of December. I called it Fear Factor December. The activities ranged from small and mundane, like sitting through a horror movie without covering my eyes, to more interesting feats, like floating in a sensory deprivation tank. I remember the anxiety of being alone and literally in absolute darkness and how my experience amazed me. I walked away feeling relaxed and loved how without sensory perception, I felt like I was floating in outer space. In that December, some fears were conquered (being in the pitch black) and others remained a constant companion in my life (my fear of needles). So when South Austin Foodie invited me to be her guest to a night of dining in total darkness, I was intrigued but not exactly scared.

I don’t know why I was so confident. One experience differs greatly from the other. The only commonality between my floating in a sensory deprivation tank and dining in the dark is being in total darkness. Dining in the dark brings up many small anxieties, such as, how do you determine if someone is speaking to you, trusting strangers to guide you to your table, trusting your tablemates to not spill the olive oil when they pass it to you, the anxiety of navigating a plate with a spoon without being able to see what you’re eating, and so forth!

The Blind Cafe is a traveling non-profit organization hailing from Colorado. They aim to inspire positive social change through their dining events held in complete darkness and facilitated by legally blind speakers and facilitators.

So what’s the format to one of these events?

You show up to the venue. In our case it was American Legion. Maybe you have some wine and wait to be seated. They section you off with your tablemates and together you line up, hand on each other’s shoulder, the first person being led by a blind person into the dark eating area. It’s likely that you and your tablemates have never experienced walking in the complete darkness before, so you take baby steps. Your guide takes you to your seat and you feel around for a table in front of you to get your bearings. You carefully sit. Once everyone is at your table, you can begin eating a plate that has already been set for you.

I have never eaten in the dark before. The closest I’ve gotten is eating at the movie theaters. What I love about this experience is that it sheds some light (ha!) on the things our eyes have made easy for us. Like eating. I never had to think about spoon and napkin placement. Or where the food is on the plate. I never had to worry whether my utensil even has food on it. Frustrated and inept, I defaulted to using my right hand over the spoon. Unlike blind people, we were all afforded the peace of mind that no one can see us struggling to feed ourselves.

As everyone began eating, the blind hosts and servers introduced themselves and told us when they lost their vision. One person lost his vision when he was a toddler. Others later on in their lives. The blind speakers and facilitators began to start taking quetsions. They set the scene for a candid and kind conversation by already joking about their blindness. “If you have any questions, raise your hand!” Laughter. Then a clarification, “if you have any questions, just announce your name and then ask.”

They were asked about how they make fashion choices and keep their clothes sorted. (They have a sorting system that may involve the way they cut their tags or add safety pins to their tags. Or they just let their wives dress them. Or they rely on their fashionable friends and also FaceTime like apps where they can ask for help from their friends or volunteers.) I asked them how they learn to trust people without having sight to read body language. (They learned to read tones and energies, just as we do when we speak to people on the phone.) They were asked what was the biggest hardship they carry. (Everyone agreed that it was being seen as less than, or ironically, not being seen at all! Feeling invisible.)

It was a heartwarming night full of candor and human connection. I recommend this experience. If you’re in Austin, they’re coming back in February. I also saw upcoming events in Portland, Seattle, and Boulder. At the very least, it was a reminder that part of the human condition is the desire to be seen.

After the discussions and frank conversations, we then listened to a band called Constellation Prize, their lead singer also a blind person. It was good music. And I danced in my chair like no one was watching.

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October 13, 2015 2

Buenos Aires Café Celebrates 10 Years

By in Argentinian, Austin

Buenos Aires Cafe Celebrates 10 Years !   >> Girl Eats World

Buenos Aires Café is celebrating their 10 year anniversary this month. To kick off their celebrations, co-owners and mother-daughter duo, Paola and Chef Reina invited a few of us lucky souls to Chef Reina’s beautiful home for a traditional asado. Traditionally an asado or Argentine barbecue is an all-day affair and the social event of the week.

Buenos Aires Cafe Celebrates 10 Years !   >> Girl Eats World

Upon arrival, we were greeted with a gorgeous table of olives, cheeses, and delicious breads. Every piece of bread we ate was expertly baked by Paola.

Buenos Aires Cafe Celebrates 10 Years !   >> Girl Eats World

Paola and Chef Reina welcomed us to their asado. They spoke of how happy they are to work and own a restaurant together, something neither of them thought they’d do. Paola shared, “I was supposed to be an architect!” To which her mom laughed and exclaimed, “And I was supposed to be an engineer!”

Buenos Aires Cafe Celebrates 10 Years !   >> Girl Eats World

After some mingling and heavy snacking, Chef Reina walked us through a hands-on empanada making demo. Thank you Jennie Chen for this photo of me! It was great fun getting our hands dirty.

Buenos Aires Cafe Celebrates 10 Years !   >> Girl Eats World

Buenos Aires Cafe Celebrates 10 Years !   >> Girl Eats World

And then the main event! We sat down to a beautifully set table to enjoy charred meats, cooked on the “parrilla”, open fire grill, as is tradition in Argentina. Argentineans use all parts of the cow so we were tucking into blood sausages (morchilla), chorizos, sweetbreads (mollejas), and tenderloins with chimichurri sauce to dip. I brought my friend Himanshu as my guest and I can still hear him gushing with his mouth full.

Buenos Aires Cafe Celebrates 10 Years !   >> Girl Eats World

This photo really captures the essence of our day. Lovely weather, Malbec that never stopped flowing, glorious amounts of meat, and merry laughs. I couldn’t ask for a better Sunday and felt so much gratitude to be sharing such a day with kind and passionate people. To my right sat Chef Reina and she regaled us with stories of how much sharing dinners with loved ones is important to her. She told me of how her family used to pick a country and each member had assigned roles. Recipes were gathered, maps were displayed, and cultures researched as they then sat down and ate and talked about what they learned during the week of preparation.

Buenos Aires Cafe Celebrates 10 Years !   >> Girl Eats World

And then when I thought I couldn’t eat one more bite, alfajores, also known as magical delicate cookies that melt in your mouth were served. Sigh.

Many happy sighs happened that day. Happy 10th Anniversary, Buenos Aires Café! Thank you for including us in your celebrations.

Note: I actually first wrote about Buenos Aires Café five years ago. The location I featured then is no longer open but they are still going strong with two locations.

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September 29, 2015 3

Happy Hour at The Highball

By in American, Austin

The Highball >> Girl Eats World

1120 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 383-8309

As I mentioned recently, I serve as Social Chair on the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance’s Board of Directors, where my main role is to organize monthly happy hours at local establishments. Our last host for our happy hour was The Highball. They really pulled out all the stops for us and we were floored by both their hospitality and menu! Located in the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, Highball is a bar, restaurant, event space, and karaoke venue. I spoke to their chef, Chef Jason Donoho, and he said though The Highball shares the same kitchen space as Alamo Drafthouse, they do not have the same menu. He wishes more people knew that not only can you come to Highball for their fun events, drinks, and karaoke, you can come just for dinner as well!

Bites not pictured but worthy of mentions:

  • Herbed french fries, $6. I could not stop eating these fries.
  • Roasted Poblano Dip, Lime, cotija cheese, cucumber, baby carrots, celery, red peppers, seeded crackers, baby romaine lettuce leaves, radish; $8. Thank you Highball for that day’s vegetable servings!
  • The Frito Pie, Mickey’s beef & Shiner Bock chili, Fritos, cheddar cheese, cotija cheese, red onions, lime sour cream, scallions. Add a fried sunny egg or sliced avocado for $1.50 each; $7. Has a nice spicy kick!
  • Baby heirloom tomatoes & Texas goat cheese; black eyed peas, cucumber, radish, fried
    avocado (!), herbs; $9.

My favorites: The french fries, Frito Pie, Fancy Deviled Eggs, Dr. Pepper ribs, fried chicken that they brine in pickle juice, and banana pudding.

I know, I shouldn’t be allowed to have that many favorites but I couldn’t narrow it down any further! I now plan on going early to my next Alamo movie and grabbing some bites at The Highball before showtime.

The Highball >> Girl Eats World
Fancy Deviled Eggs; aioli, mustard caviar, spicy citrus salt, dill; $6

The Highball >> Girl Eats World

You put a bunch of food bloggers in a dark room and like moths, we’ll gravitate to the light. With each course, our passionate group of food writers and food photographers dutifully set up shop near the windows to take our photos. We food bloggers are a ridiculous bunch.

The Highball >> Girl Eats World
Antonelli’s cheese board; selection of three cheeses, smoked almonds, fig jam, seeded crackers, you can add Antonelli meats for an extra fee; $16

The Highball >> Girl Eats World
Fried Brussels Sprouts & Shishito Peppers; white BBQ dipping sauce with brown sugar candied bacon; $8

The Highball >> Girl Eats World
Fried Chicken 3.0; two boneless thighs, pickle juice-brined, black pepper & honey; $10.

The Highball >> Girl Eats World
Warm jalapeño cheddar cheese cornbread, $6

The Highball >> Girl Eats World
Dr. Pepper Pork Ribs, $12.

The Highball >> Girl Eats World
Banana Pudding; house-made vanilla bean & rum pudding, bananas, vanilla wafers, whipped cream; $6

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September 18, 2015 6

Liberty Kitchen in Austin Now!

By in American, Austin, Houston

Liberty Kitchen // Girl Eats World

507 Pressler
Ste 700
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 840-1330

Last week I had the pleasure of dining with my friend South Austin Foodie at Liberty Kitchen at a media tasting.

Liberty Kitchen // Girl Eats World

I’m a big fan of light. Natural light, starlight, twinkle light. I want to go back to Liberty Kitchen at night to see their pretty ceiling lights with their star motif. The words on their ceiling say, “The stars at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.” Which made me think of my friend who used to have glow in the dark stars taped to his sunroof. I imagined him taking girls out and asking if they’d like to go stargazing and when the unsuspecting hopeful lasses tentatively say yes, he would pull back the sunroof cover to reveal these illuminated green plastic stars. At least, that’s how I’d make a move with that car!

In fact, you have my permission to steal this sophisticated version: you suggest to your date that you two enjoy a night of stargazing and good food and just take them to Liberty Kitchen. Eh? You’re welcome from your date coach.

Liberty Kitchen // Girl Eats World

I was charmed to see Houston’s BRC (Big Red Cock) listed as a sister restaurant to Liberty Kitchen and also to learn that Liberty Kitchen hails from Houston too, my beloved childhood town. I often find myself defending Houston while living in Austin. Sure, Houston isn’t as pretty, but the food in Houston is stellar! The cocktails were not only beautiful catching that light, but also quite tasty. I was a bad blogger and didn’t write down what cocktail I had but I enjoyed my drink. I let the server choose for me.

Liberty Kitchen // Girl Eats World

Liberty Kitchen // Girl Eats World
These grilled oysters were perfect. I consumed all sorts of oysters that night. Grilled, raw, fried, I loved them all.

Liberty Kitchen // Girl Eats World Gulf Shrimp, Crab & Fried Oyster Campechana; cucumber, olive, avocado, sweet tomato sauce, sweet herbs; $17

Ah, that fried oyster! This compechana was a beautiful start to our meal.

Liberty Kitchen // Girl Eats World

Look, Austin has strong queso game. My long-time favorite in town is Torchy’s but when your town is this great at queso, it’s always a good call to order queso. So get the queso we did. No regrets, y’all.

Liberty Kitchen // Girl Eats WorldGorilla-Style Street Fish Tacos; grilled Gulf fish, cilantro slaw, spicy crema, avocado,
grilled jalapeno, queso, drunk beans, salad, $19.99

Speaking of, I poured queso on my fish taco. We dined on a Tuesday and Liberty Kitchen does Taco Tuesdays as a special. They serve whatever fish is fresh and for us that meant drum fish.

Liberty Kitchen // Girl Eats WorldDeviled Egg Trial; spicy-pickled juice yolk topped with 1) hot smoked salmon 2) fried oyster 3) pimento cheese & crab 4) spicy fried chicken n’ sauce with side bacon jam; $12.75

I’m that person at the party who gobbles down all the deviled eggs when other guests aren’t looking. In other words, these were up my alley, but I just realized I haven’t even told you about the bacon jam! Liberty Kitchen now officially makes my favorite bacon jam. I loved it so much, South Austin Foodie and I brought a whole jar home to split. Yes, you can buy their jam by the jar! It’s a great deal. Do it for you. Do it for your loves.

Liberty Kitchen // Girl Eats WorldHeisenburg-er; ridiculous burger; $17/$24.

Behold the Heisenburg-er. Deviled eggs, turkey, bacon, bacon jam, avocado, jalapeños, did I already mention the bacon jam? Also what you see is the half order. HALF!

Liberty Kitchen // Girl Eats WorldClassic Mac and Cheese, $10

I love asking people what food they gravitate to when they’re feeling blue. I alternate between Asian noodles, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese.

Liberty Kitchen // Girl Eats World

For dessert we had the bread pudding and one of the cake shakes, ours was the red velvet cake with vanilla. By this point I didn’t think I could take more than one bite of each but to my delight and dismay, I could not stop eating that bread pudding.

Well there you have it. My first impression of Liberty Kitchen was a feast. And there’s still so much more to eat. The menu is exhaustive guys. Next time I’m curious about the Fried Oyster & Spam Musubi and the Shanghai Sweet & Chile Fried Whole Lobster. Because hedonism.

So next date night? Take your better half to Liberty Kitchen, where the menu is extensive, seafood is fresh, and stars are bright.

Question: What do you eat when you’re having the worst day?

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August 31, 2015 5

Stella San Jac

By in American, Austin

Stella San Jac

310 E 5th St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 391-2333

A few months ago I officially joined the board of Austin Food Bloggers Alliance as their Social Chair. I’ve been a member of their organization since its inception and served in various committees every season so it felt like a good move! My main role is to organize monthly happy hours for our members and this past month’s happy hour was at the newly open and beautifully designed Stella San Jac, located in the also new Westin in downtown Austin. Stella San Jac’s space features an open kitchen and small subtle interior details that are reminiscent of parts of a guitar, aptly designed to accommodate the live music they host for their guests.

We sampled a good amount of their menu. As I listened to the members mingle and talk about their experience, I didn’t hear one complaint about either service or taste. My personal favorite bite was the beet chips which incidentally also happened to be the only bite I didn’t photograph. Oops! A close second was the buttery famous #16 Biscuits, named for how many iterations it took for the recipe to reach ultimate perfection. Another favorite, the deviled eggs, made with andouille sausage were unlike the average deveiled egg and I gobbled down three!

Stella San Jac was such a great host to our group. I walked away with a full and happy belly and plans to come back with my friends!

Stella San Jac
Chicken Johnny Cakes, $7

Stella San Jac
Pearl Cous Cous, oil cured tomato, feta, frisee; $11

Stella San Jac
Smoked Salmon Spread; with pickled onions and caperberries; $12

Stella San Jac
Deviled Eggs, $6

Stella San Jac
Chef setting up the tasty devils.

Stella San Jac
Slider versions of Stella Burger; white cheddar, bbq mayo, crispy onions, normally served with fries; burgers (not sliders) $13

Blueberry Sweet Bread French Toast

Stella San Jac
Stella Fusion Cocktail

They have a cocktail called Stella Fusion they infuse every day with new flavors. On this particular day they infused Dolce Vida Tequila with pineapple and jalapeños. It was a smooth cocktail and I wish it had more pineapple flavor.

Stella San Jac

To our delight, Chef Cerrie took the time to demo the making of his biscuits. Key ingredients were butter in the batter and a slathering of bacon fat as a finishing touch!

Stella San Jac

When I’m in a tall building, I like to ask if there’s an open roof I could check out to take some photos. General Manager David Dickinson kindly escorted me and dear friend South Austin Foodie to their rooftop pool where we peered at the traffic and I snapped a few photos. I love that golden glow of the sun!

Stella San Jac

Stella San Jac

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August 21, 2015 8


By in Austin


1816 S. 1st St
Austin, TX 78704

Almost five years ago I met Michelle, Julie, Shelley and Amy. We bonded over our passion for food and food writing. I knew the day I met Michelle that she was probably a kindred spirit when she slipped an iPad under the table to me and on it was a naked photo of Anthony Bourdain strategically holding a steak.

We make a point to meet up for dinner every few months to catch up on life happenings and this week we met at Alcomar. It’s always a joy eating with other food bloggers. There is no shyness about getting up from your seat and standing over someone else’s plate to take a photo. It’s understood that we will double-dip and often eat off each other’s plates. There’s an intimacy to how we eat that isn’t always present or even tolerated with the average eating companion.

I ordered the scallops and was pleased with my order. After nibbling and tasting the rest of the plates, I think Alcomar is a good addition to Austin’s seafood and Latin scene. Our server seemed slightly distracted (but polite!) which was in a small sense a distraction in itself. The quality of food was solid and strong enough to keep our attention despite the distraction. The scallops were my favorite and they came with a unique side of cauliflower flan. Amy really liked the cerviche (not pictured) and a few of us thought the crab cake was a little too bready.

Must orders: Scallops Veracruzana, Wood-Grilled Gulf Oysters, and Mushroom Gorditas.
Happy Hour: 3p-6p daily, check their website for happy hour prices

Complimentary Habanero Pumpkin Seed Salsa and Pickles

Crab & Guac; grilled pineapple, serrano puree; $13 / Wood-Grilled Gulf Oysters; mojo butter, bacon & manchego cheese; $14

Scallops Veracruzana; scallops, asparagus, cauliflower flan, served with tortillas; $29

Mushroom Gorditas; chipotle mushrooms, refried white beans, manchego cheese & guac; $10

Wood-Grilled Calamari; spinach, olives, caper mignonette; $12

Tortilla-Crusted Crab Cake; sweet potatoes, beets, crispy capers; $15

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July 27, 2015 5

Where to Eat in Chicago

By in American, Italian

Where to Eat in Chicago

There are many perks to being best friends with a worldly photographer who is passionate about food. Thomas not only has been coaching me in my photography skills for almost two years now, but with all the traveling and eating he does, he ends up being my food tour guide around the country. We’ve eaten together for over ten years and have similar palates so I never second guess his recommendations. He’s been my gastronomical guide in Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and now Chicago. He traveled to Chicago many times a year for one of his jobs and we dedicated our entire eating plan to his recommendations.


Multiple locations with varying hours

I couldn’t leave Chicago without eating their hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. You can get both at Portillo’s where their cake shakes are also reputable. Chicago dog slingers notoriously shun ketchup. (Don’t tell anyone I dipped an end of my hot dog in ketchup.) The slices of Italian beef were so thin and moist, I was so happy I only ordered one as I could easily scarf down two and then be incapacitated.

Lou Malnati’s

Photo by Thomas

Multiple locations with varying hours

Another must-eat in Chicago is deep-dish pizza. A well-known deep-dish pizza establishment in Chicago is Lou Malnati. This is where we had a family style dinner with our friends in Chicago before heading out to Taylor Swift’s concert. (See how I casually worked in the reason why I went to Chicago?) Our table of seven overstuffed ourselves on two pizzas. They were so good it hard to exert self-control. I was glad I opted for a forgiving dress to wear to the concert.


Multiple locations with varying hours

Every time my family or workplaces received the big tins of popcorn that had the butter, caramel, and cheese popcorns, I would make mix bowls of the cheese and caramel popcorns. Onlookers would narrow their eyes at me for doing so, and I always felt a little odd for it. Thank you Garrett for validating me! I didn’t know “mix” for them meant the same thing! At Garrett’s you can buy either caramel popcorn, butter popcorn, cheddar popcorn, or mixed which translates to a mix of cheddar and caramel. I’ve always enjoyed my sweet with a little savory so I highly recommend just getting the mix. I bought a bag of the cheddar and my girlfriend bought a bag of caramel and we mixed it. (She has a bigger sweet tooth than I do).

They make their popcorn fresh daily and it’s best to consume right away as it gets stale by the next day. Though the caramel lasts longer because of the sugar coating! Be wary of subsequent buttery cheese fingers when consuming.

If you miss out, there’s a Garrett’s at the O’Hare Airport and you can also order online. I’m assuming they seal it better to ship if you want to buy online.

I forgot to take a photo of my popcorn and was tempted to just embed this photo.


449 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Open: Tuesday–Thursday 8a – 9p, Friday & Saturday 8a – 10p
Closed: Sunday & Monday

This Rick Bayless restaurant was our first stop during our short weekend trip to Chicago and it set the tone for a weekend of amazing eating. Known for their sandwiches, we all ordered sandwiches. I ordered the Pepito (braised short rib, caramelized onion, artisan Jack cheese, black beans, pickled jalapeños, added avocado; $12, $13 with added avocado) and split their famous Ahogada (golden pork carnitas, black beans, tomato-arbol chile broth, pickled onions; $11) with my roommate. If you have an eating buddy, I recommend ordering two different sandwiches as they come cut, making it easy to share. If it’s just you, get the Ahogada, the dipping broth is amazing. I also sampled their Baja Chicken sandwich, another solid choice.

For dessert we tried their renown Mexican drinking hot chocolate, so thick it’s like a chocolate sauce, perfect for dipping the churros. We also split the flan which was topped with spicy bacon caramel popcorn. Not one bite of our meal was mediocre.

If you missed out on fitting Xoco into your itinerary, you can also get some of the same sandwiches at Tortas Frontera at O’Hare airport.

Bongo Room

Multiple locations with varying hours

For brunch, try Bongo Room. I split a bastardized version of the Vegetarian Croissant Sandwich (we added bacon) and the White Chocolate Pretzel Pancakes. Those pancakes arrived doused in a white chocolate sauce and the pretzels were in the pancake batter giving it a nice salty crunch. I’m typically not a pancake kind of person but kept coming back to the pancakes, strategically aiming for bites with pretzel.

Note the location we chose (1152 S Wabash Ave) is the only location that does not serve alcohol.


615 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661
Lunch: Monday – Friday 11:30a-2p
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 3:30p-12a; Friday and Saturday 3:30p-1a
Sunday brunch: 10am-2pm

Back in Texas and on the way home from the airport, I asked the girls I traveled with what their favorite bite was. They both said the chorizo stuffed dates wrapped in bacon ($14) from Avec. My favorite bite was also from Avec, the squid ink pasta with fennel, dill, and sardines ($18). I KNOW. Talk about range. We also ate the burrata pizza with charred eggplant, cherry tomato confit, basil and calabrian chili honey ($18) and the butcher’s steak ($18). A couple of notes: they do not take reservations and you can easily wait two hours. Some people have strong opinions about long waits but I am rarely turned off by them so long as I’m in good company.

Purple Pig

Photo by Thomas

500 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
Open: Sunday – Thursday 11:30a-12a Friday & Saturday 11:30a-2a

This was the only restaurant we had on our list but didn’t make. We underestimated the amount of time we needed to eat at Avec and missed our planned second dinner at Purple Pig. I couldn’t help but include this place in this round up though because look at that photo of the turkey leg. I will most definitely be back to Chicago and next time I’ll make it here!

Been to Chicago? What would you add to this list?

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July 17, 2015 2

The Hollow Brasserie in Georgetown, Texas

By in American, Austin, French

708 S Austin Ave
Georgetown, TX 78626
(512) 868-3300

Last month I was one of the lucky guests invited to an intimate six-course dining experience at The Hollow Brasserie in Georgetown, Texas, hosted by Chef Jacob and his wife Lynda. I want to highlight my favorite entrees and also help them spread the word of their good work. Their menu changes often and they also serve brunch. If you live in North Austin or want to spend a day exploring neighboring towns, I suggest checking out The Hollow. Come early so you can explore the neighboring shops that mostly have early closing times.

Scallop escabeche, foraged and pressed verges, melons, sorrel, long bean, almond, olive oil, cucumber, grapefruit, mint, basil, thai chili, preserved lemon

Those Thai chilis had a strong kick to them but all the other flavors provided a cooling and balanced counter to the heat. This was a beautiful and light start to our meal.

The Hollow in Georgetown, Texas
Duck mousse creme caramel, pickled cucumber, peaches, mustard, pistou

I noticed as I dine with my friends through the years, pâté is kind of a polarizing food. You either love or hate it. I never tire of pâtés and enjoyed the unique pairings with the pickled cucumber and peaches.

The Hollow in Georgetown, Texas
Quail, foie gras, smoked bacon, ancienne, apricots, sautenes, ras al hanout, saffron, wood, cilantro

That wood cream had us murmuring.

The Hollow in Georgetown, Texas
Pressed duck, corn risotto, tomato beurre fondue, duck livers cured in dried porcini

The tomato beurre fondue and risotto gave the duck a comforting bath in which to nestle. I vaguely remember spooning every last drop.

The Hollow in Georgetown, Texas

We finished our meal with a decadent and creamy chocolate and blackberry cake. The Hollow left a strong impression with their execution of entrees and their passionate approach to running their restaurant. As our dinner conversation meandered, we discussed how the food community in Georgetown still has a lot of exciting growth ahead of them. The Hollow is the only French influenced brasserie in the area. Nestled in a quaint downtown square and being a restaurant so committed to forage and locally source their ingredients, I can see the importance of having a restaurant like The Hollow in Georgetown.

July 1, 2015 7

Bun Belly Egg Noodle at Bun Belly

By in Asian, Austin

5001 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 358-4101

My dear friend Michelle, who blogs at Foodie is the New Forty and I try to meet twice or thrice a month to have dinner and to blog. The formula for our blogging dates includes picking a casual place for dinner and then migrating to a coffee shop to work on our laptops. Our significant others are welcomed to join for either or both parts of the night. Sugarface hadn’t been able to join us for the last few months so our last blogging date was especially nice when he joined us for the first time in a while.

What I love about our foursome is how easily it is dissolve into unrestrained laughs and how uncanny our commonalities feel, which coincidentally was represented by what we ordered when we tried out Bun Belly a few weeks ago. We each ordered the Bun Belly Egg Noodle bowl because we all wanted pork belly and noodles. We split the Salt and Pepper Shrimp and then all tucked into our own bowls of noodles and pork belly. Pork belly at Bun Belly to go with our belly laughs.

We much liked our experience at Bun Belly and I’m going to have to remember to suggest it again so that we can try more of their contemporary Vietnamese menu. I see that they have Vietnamese crepes which I had promised to make for Michelle and Chris and have yet to make good on my promise!

Bun Belly
Salt and Pepper Shrimp; beer-battered, onion, garlic, jalapeño, seasonal greens, and lime dipping sauce; $14

Bun Belly
Bun Belly Egg Noodle; Pork belly, bok choy, over easy egg, beef broth on the side; $11

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June 17, 2015 8

Lunch in the Life: New India

By in Austin, Indian

New India

2304 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 445-9727

I like asking first generation immigrants where they go to eat when they’re homesick for their mother countries. I’m curious about their opinions on authenticity in their cuisine in the states. So when I asked my coworker Himanshu where he goes to eat when he’s homesick for his mom’s cooking, he without pausing told me New India. He said he’s from Maharashtra, India and New India has authentic Maharashtrian food. I’ve gone before for their lunch Thali platter offerings but wanted to try what Himanshu liked most. So we ordered his favorites when we met up for a collaboration over lunch.

New India
Koliwada Shrimp; prawns marinated in fisherman style spices & grilled; $9

This prawn appetizer was exquisitely spicy and perfectly cooked. I felt myself grow flush with each bite. You can adjust your spice preference with most of their offerings from mild to “Desi hot”. The flavors were so tantalizing that I didn’t bother with the mint sauce.

New India
Left: Chicken Malvani Roasted Coconut Curry; fresh roasted coconut cooked with onions, ginger, garlic, chilies & ci lantro; $13.
Right: Kheema Masala (Ground Lamb); ground lamb cooked with fresh ginger, onions, tomatoes, & whole spice; $14

Himanshu warned me that these two dishes are so authentic he’s not sure an American palate would enjoy it if it has been seasoned by Americanized Indian food. His warnings were in vain because I loved every bite.

New India

What I enjoyed about the curries at New India is I don’t feel so guilty as they use much less cream in general in comparison to the average Indian restaurant and they’re still comforting in texture and flavors. Himanshu and I traded notes on Indian places around town and we both appreciated that New India doesn’t have us smelling like Indian cuisine when we leave. I’m glad Himanshu reminded me of its existence. Our work place is not so far from New India so I’m going to keep this place on my radar for days I forget to pack a lunch to work!

Question: Where do you go to eat when you’re homesick for mom’s cooking?

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